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The domain of inquiry of this review is the rural water sector in low- and middle-income countries.

TitleChange in complex adaptive systems : a review of concepts, theory and approaches for tackling ‘wicked’ problems in achieving sustainable rural water services
Publication TypeLiterature Review
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCasella, D, Van Tongeren, S, Nikolic, I
Pagination37 p. : 7 fig., 1 tab.
Date Published12/2015
Place PublishedThe Hague, The Netherlands
Publication LanguageEnglish
Keywordsagent-based modelling, Collective impact, complex adaptive systems, learning alliances, problem-driven iterative adaption, rural water services, socio-technical systems, systems thinking, universal Darwinism, whole system change

This working paper, a product of the Triple-S Water Services That Last project, is part of an effort to ground IRC’s approach to driving and supporting change processes in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector in the theory and methods of complexity sciences and systems thinking. The review of literature from these fields identifies theory, rationale and methods underpinning complexity-informed approaches to effecting change in large, dynamic, complex adaptive systems. The insights gained from this body of literature are discussed in relation to the rural water sector in low- and middle-income countries—a sector facing problems whose solution requires changes in the mindset and behaviours of multiple actors.


Includes 116 ref.

Citation Key79170



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